Even if its’ right is no longer straightforwardly denied, the concept alienation remains under official suspicion today. This is due to its supposed background in metaphysical discourse – a background ‘derived’ from Marx’s early use of the term species being – which is accused of idealisations such as the ahistorical ‘true kernel’ of ‘human essence’. Beyond such allegations, the article shows why Marxian alienation is, if properly read, conceived neither ‘essentialistically’ nor metaphysically but – on the opposite – historically and materialistically. As a result, ‘alienation’ is not (as, say, in Rahel Jaeggi’s ‘reactualisation’) reducible to a subjective attitude or affect towards the world but was and remains a precise description of this world as an objective societal reality. Even more, with an update of the concept objective alienation, alienated labour can be shown to result – in the long run – in alienated consumption as well as in an alienation from ‘nature’ and from ‘life’. Only with a profound understanding of objective alienation, finally, can the phenomenologically denotable subjective alienation be explained as well – instead of only being described.

Objective Alienation. No Essentialism, Nowhere

Lukas Meisner
2022-01-01

Abstract

Even if its’ right is no longer straightforwardly denied, the concept alienation remains under official suspicion today. This is due to its supposed background in metaphysical discourse – a background ‘derived’ from Marx’s early use of the term species being – which is accused of idealisations such as the ahistorical ‘true kernel’ of ‘human essence’. Beyond such allegations, the article shows why Marxian alienation is, if properly read, conceived neither ‘essentialistically’ nor metaphysically but – on the opposite – historically and materialistically. As a result, ‘alienation’ is not (as, say, in Rahel Jaeggi’s ‘reactualisation’) reducible to a subjective attitude or affect towards the world but was and remains a precise description of this world as an objective societal reality. Even more, with an update of the concept objective alienation, alienated labour can be shown to result – in the long run – in alienated consumption as well as in an alienation from ‘nature’ and from ‘life’. Only with a profound understanding of objective alienation, finally, can the phenomenologically denotable subjective alienation be explained as well – instead of only being described.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5009203
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